Interviews

MarTech Interview with Doug Fuehne, Senior Vice President at Pricefx

Discover how pricing optimization is being driven by cutting-edge Multi-Agent Artificial Intelligence (MAAI) technology.
MarTech Interview

Doug, your role as Senior Vice President at Pricefx reflects a journey of leadership and expertise in the pricing technology sector. Could you walk us through your journey that has led you to your current position?

Sure… in my early career, as an engineer, I solved problems using optimization technology. While the problem solving was interesting and fun, one big revelation to me was when I realized that by solving these problems I could extend the life of an asset for my customer, which would yield about $8M per month for extra life. While I moved my career to business, specifically supply chain and pricing, that feeling never left – that leveraging advanced science and math in my jobs can make my customers a ton of money. Pricing is the most natural lever for that, but supply chain is a close second. My roles in various software and e-commerce companies gave me a venue to help my customers drive that kind of value, and as I’ve taken various leadership roles, my goal is always to create a team of people who are focused on driving value for our customers.

Can you briefly explain Pricefx’s mission and the core values that drive your AI?

Our mission at Pricefx is to drive fast value for our customers. Our core values are fast, flexible, focused, and friendly. Our AI products reflect these values in that they focus on speedy deployment of solutions to common business problems, but maintaining the flexibility for “bring your own science” approaches to enable our customers to drive value in the best way they choose.

How does Pricefx differentiate itself from other pricing software providers in the market?

We differentiate in two main ways: 1) we don’t focus on the math, but the business value, and 2) we provide a platform to leverage your own science should that be the approach you want.

Some of our competitors are very enthralled with their math solutions, or the algorithm that they use. My customers today and back in my engineering days didn’t care HOW we were able to extend their asset life, they just cared that we were able to. While Pricefx also has some great techniques built on our platform and our Multi-Agent AI technology, we are more focused on solving our customers’ business problems. We solve the most business problems of any pricing software provider, clocking in at 15 currently across the manufacturing, distribution, and retail segments.

Given our focus on flexible and friendly, we also provide a platform for our customers to implement their own data-science-based solutions, rather than forcing them to use our math.

Your AI technology is described as the pricing industry’s first and only Multi-Agent Artificial Intelligence (MAAI) technology. Could you delve deeper into what MAAI entails and how it’s applied in the context of pricing optimization?

Sure. Again, it is not about the technology, but the flexibility and focus. That said, our MAAI technology uses several different kinds of machine learning algorithms to simulate business environments along with optimization technology to provide the recommended path forward. There are five main schools of thought in machine learning. Connectionists, Evolutionaries, Bayesians, Analogizers, and Symbolists. The agents in MAAI interact and evolve, leveraging both the connectionist and evolutionary approaches, and the optimization toolkit comes from the analogizers school. The agents interact in a market and help the optimizer understand what the response will be for particular price actions. The output is a recommended price point, price action, discount, promotion, etc. that drives a specific business outcome.

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How does your simulation and optimization approach enable companies to assess the impact of price list updates and understand the implications on various business KPIs?

Our technology simulates the effect of a price change across many actors or agents, and then examines the outputs for revenue, margin, and other KPI. Based on the simulations, the optimizer can suggest new or different changes, and the cycle repeats until we arrive at a solution that meets or exceeds business objectives.

Doug, as the Senior Vice President at Pricefx, you’ve played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s pricing solutions. Can you share your personal approach or philosophy when it comes to delivering innovative pricing technologies to your clients?

Our customers have wonderful companies and great teams driving pricing. However most of them have never installed pricing software before and sometimes struggle with the art of the possible. My goal, and Pricefx’s goal, is to help them get live with a solution that drives value such that they can then fund the expansion of that solution with the value they obtain from the first. This creates a wonderful virtuous cycle where everyone wins! Part of the challenge in that first (and next) phase is to keep them on track to that vision. Sometimes our customers see the huge potential in the flexibility of our solution and want to do everything at once. We encourage them to focus on the foundation, and on a solution that will drive quick value, helping them to see and engage the art of the possible.

One key aspect that you highlight is its flexibility. Can you elaborate on how businesses can tailor their approach to price optimization using your technology?

Pricefx is the most flexible solution in the market. Two approaches outline this flexibility. The 15 use cases represent a broad swath of business problems for a wide range of customer types. Our customers can pick among this wide range of solutions for the one that best fits their business.

However, our flexibility also allows customers to leverage their previous investments in data science and import their own models or own algorithms into our platform, where the output can be used across price building, quoting, analytics, rebates, and promotions modules. This is the most highly tailored you can get – a customer-built model.

In dynamic markets, business strategies often need to evolve rapidly. How does your technology enable companies to continuously adapt their pricing strategies to stay ahead of market shifts?

Our algorithms continuously monitor the data coming into the app, reflecting the latest market conditions. The output is real-time into our other modules. For example, if you use a market-based pricing strategy and the market changes, the prices output from the model can be immediately implemented in the market, allowing our customers to be as close to the market as possible.

Can you share some insights into Pricefx’s commitment to innovation and how the technology continually incorporates the latest advancements in machine learning and AI?

Pricefx spends a significant portion of our revenue on R&D each year. We have a dedicated team that continuously innovates our AI platform, incorporating new models or techniques and continually expanding the number and type of business problems we solve.

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Doug Fuehne, Senior Vice President at Pricefx

Doug Fuehne is the Senior Vice President of Impact at Pricefx and has over two decades of experience consulting with manufacturers, distributors, and retailers on pricing and supply chain strategy, including over a decade working in pricing software. Doug leads Pricefx’s Impact team, helping customers understand how they can drive value in their business with pricing software across their entire lifecycle. Before Pricefx, Doug led AWS’ Global Supply Chain practice, led Amazon Business’ Customer Success and implementation teams, led presales and professional services at a competitor to Pricefx, and built ecommerce businesses at Deloitte and Enron. Doug enjoys playing guitar, coaching youth sports, hiking the Pacific Northwest and traveling. LinkedIn.
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